Habitat for Humanity International Core Tenets
Vision: A world where everyone has a decent place to live.
Mission statement: Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.
- Demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ.
We undertake our work to demonstrate the love and teachings of Jesus, acting in all ways in accord with the belief that God’s love and grace abound for all, and that we must be “hands and feet” of that love and grace in our world. We believe that, through faith, the miniscule can be multiplied to accomplish the magnificent, and that, in faith, respectful relationships can grow among all people.
- Focus on shelter.
We have chosen, as our means of manifesting God’s love, to create opportunities for all people to live in decent, durable shelter. We put faith into action by helping to build, renovate or preserve homes, and by partnering with others to accelerate and broaden access to affordable housing as a foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty.
- Advocate for affordable housing.
In response to the prophet Micah’s call to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God, we promote decent, affordable housing for all, and we support the global community’s commitment to housing as a basic human right. We will advocate for just and fair housing policy to eliminate the constraints that contribute to poverty housing. And, in all of our work, we will seek to put shelter on hearts and minds in such powerful ways that poverty housing becomes socially, politically and religiously unacceptable.
- Promote dignity and hope.
We believe that no one lives in dignity until everyone can live in dignity. We believe that every person has something to contribute and something to gain from creating communities in which all people have decent, affordable places to live. We believe that dignity and hope are best achieved through equitable, accountable partnerships.
- Support transformational and sustainable community development.
We view our work as successful when it transforms lives and promotes positive and lasting social, economic and spiritual change within a community; when it is based on mutual trust and fully shared accomplishment; and when it demonstrates responsible stewardship of all resources entrusted to us.
Policy of Non-Proselytizing
This policy applies to Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliated organizations (HFH).
Policy: Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliated organizations (HFH) will not proselytize. Nor will HFH work with entities or individuals who insist on proselytizing as part of their work with HFH. This means that HFH will not offer assistance on the expressed or implied condition that people must (i) adhere to or convert to a particular faith or (ii) listen and respond to messaging designed to induce conversion to a particular faith.
- To provide internal and external clarity regarding HFH’s approach to humanitarian aid and development assistance as a Christian ministry;
- To ensure alignment with recognized international standards on acceptable humanitarian aid and development assistance practices.
Rationale: Habitat for Humanity is a Christian ministry dedicated to a vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. HFH conducts its programs in ways that are sensitive and respectful to the cultural context and the local faith community and reflect our belief that all are created in God’s image and deserve to be treated without discrimination.
Globally, faith-based organizations from all religions approach their work with a range of motivations tat inform their development approach. This policy is intended to ensure that HFH conforms to recognized global standards that clearly state tat agencies may not condition the receipt of assistance or participation in their work on any requirement that people listen and respond to a message intended to induce people to join a religious movement, political party, or other cause or organization.
HFHI’s motivation is to unite around the concept of “putting God’s love into action” along with others from all faiths or with no faith convictions who are interested in helping those in need of improved shelter.
History of Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller. Today, Habitat for Humanity is a true world leader in addressing the issues of poverty housing.
In 2010, Habitat celebrated its 400,000th Habitat House.
“One thing I really believe about Habitat is that even though we’re building with hammers and nails, we’re not just building a house,” said Ana Valentin-Jackson, a habitat homeowner and staffer who helped build houses with the Carters and other volunteers in Washington, D.C. “We’re building opportunities for families just like mine.”
Habitat for Humanity marks a major milestone as it dedicates its 500,000th house in Maai Mahiu, Kenya, and begins construction on its 500,001st house in Paterson, N.J. Volunteers and homeowners are joining Habitat for Humanity Kenya and Paterson Habitat for Humanity in celebrating the milestones as part of events held worldwide to mark World Habitat Day 2011.
“It is a testament to the power of what God can do when people come together to build homes, communities and hope,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “I am so grateful to all of the volunteers, donors and advocates who share our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”
In Kenya, Habitat for Humanity completed the 500,000th house in partnership with Leah Wairimu Ngugi and her grandchildren. Ms. Ngugi’s family is one of many who were displaced after post-election violence erupted in the country in late 2007. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes, which were looted and burned. These internally displaced persons (IDP) lost all of their belongings and are living in small tents, often in deplorable conditions. Habitat Kenya has worked with IDP in Maai Mahiu for more than two years and has helped resettle 235 families into durable, decent, three-room houses in new communities.
Humble Beginnings at Koinonia Farm
The concept that grew into Habitat for Humanity International was born at Koinonia Farm, a small, interracial, Christian community outside of Americus, Georgia. Koinonia Farm was founded in 1942 by farmer and biblical scholar Clarence Jordan. The Fullers first visited Koinonia in 1965. They had recently left a successful business and an affluent lifestyle in Montgomery, Alabama tobegin a new life of Christian service. At Koinonia, Jordan and Fuller developed the concept of “partnership housing.” The concept centered on those in need of adequate shelter working side by side with volunteers to build simple, decent houses.
The Fund for Humanity
The houses would be built at no profit and interest would not be charged on the loans. Building costs would be financed by a revolving fund called “The Fund for Humanity.” The fund’s money would come from the new homeowners’ house payments, no-interest loans provided by supporters and money earned by fund-raising activities. The monies in the Fund for Humanity would be used to build more houses.
The Fund for Humanity’s mission statement:
What the poor need is not charity but capital, not caseworkers but co-workers. And what the rich need is a wise, honorable and just way of divesting themselves of their overabundance. The Fund for Humanity will meet both of these needs. Money for the fund will come from shared gifts by those who feel they have more than they need and from non-interest bearing loans from those who cannot afford to make a gift but who do want to provide working capital for the disinherited . . . The fund will give away no money. It is not a handout.
Inception of Habitat for Humanity
In 1968, Koinonia laid out 42 half-acre house sites with four acres reserved as a community park and recreational area. Capital was donated from around the country to start the work. Homes were built and sold to families in need at no profit and no interest. The basic model of Habitat for Humanity was begun.
In 1973, the Fullers decided to apply the Fund for Humanity concept in developing countries. The Fuller family moved to Mbandaka, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo.) The Fullers’ goal was to offer affordable yet adequate shelter to 2,000 people. After three years of hard work to launch a successful house building program, the Fullers returned to the United States.
Expansion into Habitat for Humanity International
In September 1976, Millard and Linda called together a group of supporters to discuss the future of their dream. Habitat for Humanity International as an organization was born at this meeting. The eight years that followed, vividly described in Millard Fuller’s book, “Love in the Mortar Joints,” proved that the vision of a housing ministry was workable. Faith, hard work and direction set HFHI on its successful course.
In 1984, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn took their first Habitat work trip, the Jimmy Carter Work Project, to New York City. Their personal involvement in Habitat’s ministry brought the organization national visibility and sparked interest in Habitat’s work across the nation. HFHI experienced a dramatic increase in the number of new affiliates around the country.
Through the work of Habitat, thousands of low-income families have found new hope in the form of affordable housing. Churches, community groups and others have joined together to successfully tackle a significant social problem―decent housing for all.
Today, Habitat has helped build or repair more than 600,000 houses and served more than 3 million people around the world. You can visit Habitat for Humanity International at www.habitat.org.